The Protégé: Assassin Thriller Is Just Meh

Samuel L. Jackson as Moody and Maggie Q as Anna in The Protégé. Photo Credit: Jichici Raul.

The Protégé, the new assassin thriller starring Maggie Q, is the latest film in the all-too-familiar genre arriving in theaters this weekend.

This film is the newest installment in the assassin genre, which includes the Keanu Reeves-starring John Wick and on the comedic side, The Hitman’s Bodyguard franchise. If you’re into assassin films, maybe this will be a film for you or maybe it won’t. I gave this film a chance but it ultimately left me feeling meh. That’s all we can really do is just give a film a chance, right?

Legendary assassin Moody Dutton (Samuel L. Jackson) trains Anna (Maggie Q) in the business after he rescues her as a child. When you’re trained by a legend in the industry so to speak, you’re going to become really good at the job. Anna decides to get revenge following Moody’s death. Anna crosses paths with another killer, Michael Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), and he is attracted to her. Oh, hello, 30ish year age difference that doesn’t make this feel any less creepy! The whole cat-and-mouse game between the two would be better if they were closer in age. Instead, you have an almost 30-year after difference between two characters that will either kill or screw each other if they can ever make up their mind. Honestly, the big age difference here can be quite the turn-off. Honestly, it’s really creepy. Like why not fall for someone closer to you in age?

Maggie Q is no stranger to action films and has Jackie Chan as her real-life mentor. In playing Anna, the actress plays a character that can be extremely professional but also vulnerable at times. There’s no doubt that Anna is also impacted by the way she grew up. I mean, if you went through what she did and then become a trained assassin, there’s probably no shortage of therapy needed!

I’m going to be honest in that this is one of those films that left me feeling meh about it. It’s like, you don’t love it but you don’t completely hate it either. The nearly thirty-year age difference between Anna and Rembrandt does no favors either. On screen or off, this type of age gap in any relationship is a turn-off. But at the same time, the film just really struggles in keeping my attention. Maybe that’s because of the pandemic sleeping pattern. I don’t know. Anyway, this film just left me feeling meh about it.

And now for the usual disclaimer, which I’ll include in reviews throughout the pandemic. I saw this film in a safe environment that did not have a mixture of both press and the general public. With the Delta variant being highly contagious, I’m not exactly recommending the theatrical experience right now. Maybe wait until the film hits Digital/VOD or a streaming service before giving it a watch.

The Protégé has a solid cast at hand but this film leaves a meh (and sometimes creepy) feeling in the all-too-familiar genre.

DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell
CAST: Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, and Samuel L. Jackson, with Robert Patrick

Lionsgate releases The Protégé in theaters on August 20, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.